Addresses how the rights to life, liberty, and personal security are being violated increasingly over the year’s in Peru since the armed conflict that ended in 2000.
It analyzes how police brutality has been at the forefront of this issue and touches on ways in which human rights advocates have succeeded in securing some of these rights.
For the last eighteen years, this country has been free from a violent and intense armed conflict which had been evolving for twenty years prior to its demise (1). However, violent protests and frequent deaths from drug trafficking, police or governmental corruption and gender-based violence, are still common experiences found in the years after 2000, creating a legacy for citizens which is founded in crime and suffering. This legacy is not the common one which Peruvian’s strive for, as they have been fighting for years to improve the human right conditions across the country. Human rights advocates in Peru decided to attack a multitude of conflicts at their roots through implementing ways to confront the abuses which have occurred (3).
One way they have attempted to address the public disorganization which are creating human rights violations was the push to reduce corruption in the police services and to ensure these services were working to protect Peruvian citizens, instead of to serve the leader of the country or foreign corporations. Advocates have reported that since 2006, over 130 protestors have been killed due to their participation in peaceful-public protests (1). Many of which have been linked to activist projects in the Amazon Rainforest, created to support Indigenous rights to land and culture which are being violated due to the preference of developing economic rights of Peru (3).
More recently, news companies have reported more and more cases of violence and death, by the police forces across the country. During the short time President Kuczynski held leadership, three protestors died, however, this is no comparison to some of the other presidents (1). In 2009, there was an attack later labeled as “Baguazo” in which police members engaged in a violent conflict with 400 Quechua speaking community members who gathered to protest the referendum that was ignored by Candente Copper, a Canadian company interested in developing mining projects near the community (4). Baguazo resulted in the death of 12 police officers and 11 citizens, an incident which occurred during Alan Garcia’s time in office (4).
It is clear from watching any news report or reading any human rights reports that the situation is negatively declining in Peru, due to a range of issues: land and territory violations, violence against women and children, and even a lack of reproductive rights or rights for the LGBTQ community; however, something which always stays the same is the interactions these human rights defenders have with their interactions with police officers (3). Despite this decline, many are becoming more aware of the situation, banning together to create positive changes across the country.
In 2015, President Humala was pressured to create a law which restricted the use of both non-lethal and lethal force, by police (1). Under this law, officers are allowed to use force only in times of “serious and imminent risk” of harm, which has reduced the amount of contact in some cases between police and citizens. The following year, Humala was supported by the Interior Ministry, who called for an investigation into 28 police members which had been accused of being involved in extrajudicial killings from 2009 and 2015. This case is still evolving in 2018 and has 11 officers who are waiting to have their day in court (1).
These crackdowns and restrictions on police violence are ultimately seen as positive successes for citizens and human rights defenders. Except, they both have a significant amount of work to do, to ensure that the police corruption and even government corruption, does not intensify. This will ensure that the rights to life, liberty, and personal security have stronger safeguards in place, for all citizens, regardless of race, status or gender.
Human Rights Watch. (2018, January 18). World Report 2018: Rights Trends in Peru. Retrieved from https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/peru
Boyd, S. (2017, July 05). Peruvian protesters face increased police brutality. Retrieved from https://newint.org/blog/2013/01/25/police-powers-protestersAmnesty International. (2018).
Peru 2017/2018. Retrieved from https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/americas/peru/report-peru/
Cultural Survival. (2016, October). Peru: Indigenous Protestors at Bagua Declared Innocent of Police Deaths. Retrieved from https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/peru-indigenous-protestors-bagua-declared-innocent-police-deaths